The strange thing about building networks of fellow creative minds, whether they be designers, stylists, makeup artists, models, singers, artists etc. is that life can sometimes lead you down some unusual avenues.
My friend, Jacki Clark, who had helped style some of my fashion shoots, has a sideline organising cabaret and burlesque nights in Glasgow. This latest creation, the Baby Blues Club, which she formed with the singer, Michelle Elli, was a new variation on the theme.
I arrived a little early, after indulging in some tapas in the upstairs restaurant, then descended down the stairs and turned left into music heaven. Michelle and her band were starting their sound checks and I walked in on Minnie the Moocher in full swing, With sax, horn, drums, double bass and keyboard the band gave a big band feel on the small stage and Michelle's velvety whisky voice just made me melt.
I watched Jacki slowly pull the show together over the last few minutes and fend off eager patrons and then we were ready to begin.
Our compere for the evening was Gary, a familiar face who had hosted the Candylicious fashion show earlier in the year, with equal aplomb. He did seem to come over all obsessed about Geordie Shore at one stage, but I'm sure he's recovered now.
After an introductory piece by Michelle and our band, Terry turned up with his table, a briefcase and two chairs. A few rope tricks, some cards and cup and ball games later and he was whispered off the stage due to overrunning slightly.
Now I hadn't know what to expect from the next act on the play sheet, One Blood, a troupe of breakdancers. They performed 3 routines during the evening and each one was a marvel of movement, athelticism and dance, running up walls, twisting on the floor and body popping. It was a break from the jazzy, blues feeling of Michelle's band but strangely it worked as a piece of entertainment in this low ceilinged darkly lit club, speakeasy cabaret brought into the modern age.
After another couple of numbers from Michelle and her band it was the turn of the first of our burlesque dancers for the night. Vendetta Vain appeared, exquisite in a ballgown and opera gloves and graced us with an elegant dance routine. Now I'm just a country boy at heart, so I'm ok with burlesque right up until the tassels come out, when I get a little angsty and unsure about how savoury the whole thing is. Vendetta's approach made me forget all those worries and I was captivated by her routine, even as I had to remind myself to stop admiring and take a picture or two.
Now I guess, before I go any further in the recounting of the night's events, I should give you a little view of Michelle and her band at work. I'm not so old that I ever got to see the greats live in their clubs and bars. Often when you hear folk render tunes like Is you is, Minnie the Moocher, and others, either the band or the singer don't quite have that undefinable "something". Michelle and her band brought me back to the dream of those times and those places and our little underground club, home of the Baby Blues was a living breathing taste of all that is good about music. (i guess you can tell I liked them).
After another delve into breakdancing we were graced with the energetic routine of Favourite Sin, in keeping with the evening it had a little old fashioned gangster edge to it.
The fabulous night was brought to a rousing close with a duet of a kind. As Michelle sang to our souls, the boys of One Blood danced in turn and in syncopated synchronicity to the music.
I don't know when they might return to Glasgow's fair city, but I can't help feeling that the streets shine a little brighter, the people are more beautiful, the world is a better place, now that the Baby Blues is in town.